Economic Analysis for Hydropower Project Relicensing: Guidance and Alternative Methods


This report is intended to help Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) staff become more effective participants in the hydropower relicensing process through a better understanding of the economic analysis used to evaluate hydropower projects. Specifically, the report seeks to accomplish the following goals:

  • Explain the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC's) current approach to the economic analysis of relicensing alternatives;
  • Review potential methodological refinements and why they are important; and
  • Introduce a variety of approaches for assessing non-power values, helping FWS staff recognize when more advanced analyses are applicable.

The purpose of this document is not to provide a step-by-step guide for the conduct of primary economic analysis, i.e., the reader is not expected to become an expert in the implementation of the analyses described here. Rather, the document seeks to attune non-experts to the role of economics in relicensing and the diversity of techniques available. 


Black, Robert, Bruce McKenney, Robert Unsworth, Nicholas Flores